This post by Wes Fisher is worth a peek. In his description of this year’s American College of Cardiology meeting he captures the changing face of medicine through the realities of medical meetings. Personally I’ve wondered if there’s a future in bringing doctors across the country once a year to sit in a dark room so they can listen to the friend of a society higher up lean against a podium and put everyone to sleep.
I’m generalizing but you what I’m talking about.
Things are changing. Doctors have new learning options and are no longer beholden to the sage on the stage. CME and amazing content is now available on every physician’s terms. We’re reaching the point where technology can facilitate peer-to-peer engagement in a way that’s more accessible and retrievable than convention chatter. Consequently, it seems that the unveiling of scientific advances shouldn’t require a big room full of doctors. And the discussion about these advances shouldn’t be restricted to those who have the means to make it to the great big room. Of course there are benefits to being there but I’m not sure they always offset the expense and lost of productivity that comes with showing up.
The ‘medical meeting’ as a piece of history. As I suggested here in 2010, “the term ‘medical meeting’ will evolve to have more historical meaning. It suggests that the way doctors relate is episodic and isolated. We come, then we go away. I’m in, I’m out. Now we’re engaging, now we’re not. Until we ‘meet’ again.” This isn’t in line with the way we are beginning to communicate and share information.
And we should expect fewer plush carpets and strapping young detail men. As decisions regarding treatment and drug choice come under stricter third party control, there are fewer reasons to court physicians. Much of what Wes describes in the decay of the major medical meeting is a reflection of the physician’s slow transformation from leader and decision maker to employee.
I’ll disagree with Wes’ assertion that we’re now the bad guys. We’re the different guys.
You might enjoy The Death of the Medical Internet Cafe, Should Twitter be Restricted at Scientific Meetings?, Doctors and the Permission to Speak.